What you should know
Pressure increases the problem. Putting pressure on your child causes him anxiety at school and at home! To relieve the stress, he may lie, conceal low grades, fake your signature on his report card, or skip school. The problem will only worsen.
Rewards may backfire. “To motivate our daughter, we tried rewarding good grades,” says a father named Andrew, “but that only caused her to focus on the reward. When she got a bad grade, she was more disappointed about not getting the reward than about the bad grade.”
Blaming the teachers is unproductive. Your child may conclude that good results do not require effort. He might also learn to shift the blame for his mistakes and to expect others to solve his problems. In short, your child could miss out on a skill that is vital for adult life—accepting responsibility for his actions.
What you can do
Control your feelings. If you feel angry, postpone any discussion with your child about grades. “My wife and I have achieved the best results when we are calm and empathetic,” says a father named Brett.
Bible principle: “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.”—James 1:19.
Identify the real problem. Common reasons for bad grades are bullying, changing schools, exam anxiety, family issues, lack of sleep, lack of a schedule, or lack of concentration. Do not assume your child is simply lazy.
Bible principle: “The one who shows insight in a matter will find success.”—Proverbs 16:20.
Create an atmosphere conducive to learning. Make a schedule for homework and study. Have a place where your child can do his homework free from distractions (including television and mobile phones). Break homework sessions into shorter units to help your child concentrate. Hector, a father from Germany, says, “If a test is coming up, we review a little each day instead of waiting till the last minute.”
Bible principle: “There is an appointed time for everything.”—Ecclesiastes 3:1.
Encourage learning. The better your child understands how he benefits from school now, the more he will feel motivated to learn. For example, math can help him budget his pocket money.
Tip: Assist your child with his homework, but do not do it for him. Andrew admits, “Our daughter relied on our brains and turned hers off.” Teach your child how to do homework on his own.